Friday, 24 November, 2017

Strong finish carries Kittel to win in 11th stage

Froome and Tour rivals dust down after hectic week Strong finish carries Kittel to win in 11th stage
Elaine Woods | 14 July, 2017, 00:46

Race leader Chris Froome admitted that Tuesday's 10th stage had been the calmest of this year's race - perhaps of any Tour he'd taken part in - but he's expecting something entirely different on Wednesday.

Marcel Kittel claims another stage win on the Tour de France.

Kittel edged Dylan Groenewegen and Edvald Boasson Hagen to become the first cyclist to win five stages in one Tour since Mark Cavendish in 2011.

Kittel found the wheel of Britain's Dan McLay close to the finish line and catapulted beyond his rivals with such ease that he was able to raise his arms in victory salute as he crossed the line.

Right now, the only riders who seem to have a puncher's chance of taking Chris Froome's yellow jersey are Fabio Aru, Romain Bardet, and Rigoberto Uran, and they will likely save their powder for bigger stages in which the potential rewards are greater.

Froome stayed clear of trouble but admitted the incidents made for a more stressful day.

Kittel perfectly timed his effort in the final straight to post his fourth stage win since the start of the race, crossing the line ahead of fellow German John Degenkolb.

"That crash really knocked me for six", he said. I never made a mistake, all the lines were ideal.

Romain Bardet was twice caught up in cashes on Stage 11 from Eymet to Pau
Romain Bardet was twice caught up in cashes on Stage 11 from Eymet to Pau

Bouhanni was later fined 200 Swiss francs ($207) and given a one-minute penalty in the general classification for "assault", the race jury said without elaborating.

After a gruelling mountain stage, Monday's rest day was welcomed by all and sundry and with two flat stages ahead before the Pyrenees loom, the sprinters will be licking their lips at the prospect of coming to the fore once again.

"Tomorrow, I'll know more in the mountains. It was a less complicated stage", Froome said.

Although riders in the breakaway will look to take victory on Stages 16 and 19, both of which feature several categorised climbs, it is tough to see anyone beating Kittel on the final stage sprint down the Champs Elysees.

While the peloton headed towards the Pyrenees, 2012 Tour victor Sir Bradley Wiggins was on the other side of France ready for Thursday's gathering on Mont Ventoux to remember Tom Simpson on the 50th anniversary of his death during the 1967 race.

"We weren't where we said we wanted to be in the meeting and it left me with a long sprint to try and even get into the top 15 to even get any points".

"Being just 100km, I imagine it will be 100km of flat-out racing".

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